I am writing to tell you something I don’t feel like I could tell anyone else. Not that I am embarrassed or panicked (of which I am, in fact, both), but because I feel like it might be the key to unlocking your brilliance (which isn’t really locked up, but lately you seem to pretend it so). In any case, you need to know this.
I like my coffee strong. A tablespoon of soy. Two sugars, not sweetener.
I cherish this part of the morning. I’m at the office, in my job, which I don’t loathe, but dislike enough to appreciate the private, quiet parts of my day. Like going to the restroom. Especially when it’s Number Two, because you know more than anyone else that I have spells of constipation and stage fright when it comes to pooping in unfamiliar places or around company. So usually, I love taking a dump at work.
Not today, and here is why.
I did the deed. I flushed. And then I realized the toilet was broken. Sometimes this can happen, things get backed up, but when you remain calm and collected, it usually all works out. Isn’t that what you once told me? So I patiently waited for it to stop running, for the universe to unfold as it should, as it usually does.
It didn’t. So I thought positive thoughts and didn’t take my eyes off the water level.
I flushed again.
Still, the turds only rose with the surface of the water, dangerously skimming the top of the bowl.
With my face burning, I fumbled frantically through the cleaning closet for a plunger, even though I’ve only done this sort of thing once before in the privacy of my own home. When I finally found the plunger, I discovered it was broken, too. Somehow it had been so used and abused that the rubber had turned almost entirely inside out, rendering it useless in my situation. I tried anyway. All it did was shred up the toilet paper and splash water around, causing the poops to move in circles, hovering, almost tauntingly above the hole.
Then I thought, What would Alexis do?
Now I had options.
I could wash my hands, walk out, and pray no one else had to use the restroom for the rest of today. I could put a sign on the door. But what if someone saw me? What if they knew I was the last one in there? Or I could scream, storm out into the office and demand to know who dropped a doo and didn’t flush. I could pin the blame on someone who wasn’t there to defend themselves. I devised intricate schemes in my head about how I could invite a well-trusted friend to my place of employment and disguise them as someone off the street who just needed to use the restroom, have them fake it, and leave, and then have a random stranger to blame as the culprit. In retrospect, I guess any of these things would have been ballsier than what I actually did do, which was fish out each of my feces with a broom handle and discard them into the trash can.
At this moment, I realized the essence of my own humanity. It was humiliating and at the same time, glorious. I can’t explain this enough to you, Alexis.
The glory of it is imagining whoever the poor asshole is who is going to take out the garbage tonight because later that day, I went back into the restroom to rinse out my coffee cup, and without even thinking, opened the trash can to toss in the paper towel. It smelled ungodly.
So I am writing you in hopes that my story will lift your spirits while you are slumming in the depths of your misfortunes. I hope you don’t think less of me when I tell you that while I am looking forward to the mass company email with the subject line reading: “TO WHOEVER SHIT IN THE OFFICE TRASH CAN…” I will simultaneously be thinking, “Things could be worse, at least I’m not Alexis.”
Which is funny because you were the first person I thought of.
But what I really hope you are thinking now is that things could, in fact, be worse. You could have shit in a trash can this morning.
And for that, Alexis, no one could ever really love you for.